The language of the Second Amendment hasn’t always been interpreted the way the NRA currently claims. In fact, the Supreme Court case cited by current gun nuts as their personal right to bear arms was a close 5-4 decision made in 2008, less than ten years ago.
Retired Justice John Paul Stevens reminds us that for 200 years it was legally understood that the Second Amendment was not stopping federal or state authority from enacting gun control. “In 1939 the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated militia,” Justice Stevens said in a op-ed. I’d like to add that we don’t allow people to have personal nuclear warheads.
Justice Stevens goes on with his history lesson, saying:
“During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
The more you know.
Justice Stevens was one of the four dissenters in the 2008 case, District of Columbia v. Heller, ruling that there was an individual right to bear arms. He pitches that a repeal of the Second Amendment entirely is a possible solution to gun violence, but I’m pretty sure the 3 percenter militias would freak out and blow up all the cities if we even pitched that idea. I do, however, appreciate the history lesson on the Second Amendment.
By Being Liberal contributor: Sarah Ficca